Budapest is a very popular travel destination but often people only go there for a couple of days or even just one whole day. Here are some of the places you have to see when you are in Budapest for a limited amount of time!
A great way to explore a city is by boat. I really love hopping onto a Boat Tour to get a completely different view of a city and at the same time learn about its past since most boat tours offer audio guides!
In Budapest we went for the company “Legenda” which offers a day time cruise “Duna Bella”, which is the one we took, and also a nighttime cruise “Danube Legend”. The tour takes about an hour and gives you impressions of the city and the buildings close to the river banks.
One of the buildings the “Duna Bella” passes is the parliament and if you ask me you’ll get the best view of the building in all of Budapest.
The cruise also circles around Margaret Island and visitors even have the opportunity to get off the boat and stroll around the Island and take another Cruise back!
Overall I’d recommend to take this tour if you want to see a lot of a city but don’t necessarily care about being right next to sightseeing spots since from a boat you get to enjoy them from afar.
If you are thinking about taking a boat tour and exploring the city by water you can check out the available cruises and book your tickets here https://legenda.hu/de/duna-bella
Castle Hill is for sure one of my highlights of my trip to Budapest! It is like you hopped into a time capsule and got put back in time a good hundred years or so!
To get up to castle hill you can either take a funiclar from the chain bridge, the public busses, or a lot of bus tours also have stops up there if you already have a ticket for one of those.
Once you step out of the bus you’re in the middle of a quaint “little” town with streets that are paved with cobblestones and little to no cars around you! Make sure to take a couple hours out of your day to walk around Castle Hill and visit the main attractions of the area!
Also know as the Royal Palace, Buda Castle holds the National Gallery and Budapest History museum. It is one of the main attractions on Castle Hill and attracts many visitors each year. If you are low on budget or not that fond of museum’s and gallery’s I’d still recommend you to check out its courtyard! You can walk around the castle for free and just admire the architecture.
You could probably spend a good 1-2 hours exploring the Matthias Church and the open area around it by itself. But to keep it short and simple and I’d recommend you to obviously look at the church from the inside. You don’t have to take a guided tour or even an audio guide since you can get brochure on the inside of Matthias church that points out certain sports inside the church that you should take a look at and also explains the history regarding that spot.
If you have a little bit more time on your hands I’d also tell you to take a “tour” up to the church tower. It needless to say requires a little bit of exercise to get all the way up since you have to climb up a narrow windy staircase. But at the top you get a great view of the city and on your way to the top you also get a close look at the church bells. But of course not when they are ringing!
You can find more information about opening hours, fees and tours on the official Matthias Church Website.
Right behind Matthias Church and across from a Starbucks you won’t be able miss Fisherman’s Bastion. The decorative fortification was built in the 19th century to offer tourists a panoramic view of the city. And that is exactly what you get!
You can stroll along the lovely “bridges” connecting the lookout towers and snap some lovely pictures of the city and also the Matthias church.
To get on to the Fisherman’s Bastion, you’ll have to pay a small entrance fee but if you’re already at Matthias Church I’d totally recommend spending the couple bucks to check out Fisherman’s Bastion too!
Before continuing your sightseeing trip through Budapest, you can relax a bit and recharge your batteries in a café that is located in the Bastion!
Note: To enter the restaurant you don’t have to pay the entrance fee for the Fisherman’s Bastion – it has a separate entrance!
Citadel – Gallert Hill
If you don’t want to pay to get a panoramic view of the city the Citadel is the perfect spot for you! It is a viewing platform on Gallert Hill which 140m high dolomite rock that rises above the Danube on the Buda side of the city.
You can reach the platform by hiking up Gallert Hill if you have some time to spare or you can take a bus that will get you to the top a bit faster!
Once you are up there you can stroll around the area and check out the attractions on Gallert Hill and of course don’t forget to capture the panoramic view!
If you want to find out what you can see on Gallert Hill check out this site:https://www.budapestbylocals.com/budapest-gellert-hill.html
Attractions in Pest
St. Stephens Basilica
Personally I didn’t get time to go inside the St. Stephens Basilica but I still had to see it from the outside!
*Just so I can say I’ve been there.*
But it is for sure one of the main attractions in Budapest since it is the third largest church building in Hungary. To get inside you have to pay an entrance fee (like it is for a lot of churches in Europe) but if you are a fan of the neo-classical architecture it is definitely worth going inside it!
You can get a guided tour, go up to a panoramic platform or look at the treasury but you can find more information about that on their website! http://en.bazilika.biz/tourism/tourism
Located at the end of Andrássy Avenue and next to City Park Heroes’ Square was one of the attractions that was a “must” for me! It is the largest and also most impressive square of Budapest and also one of the most popular attractions in the city. You can easily get to it with the Metro or you can walk up Andrássy Avenue to get some more impressions of the city.
If you have some spare time or are not on a tight time limit to begin with you should definitely check out the park right behind Heroes’ Square. It is definitely nice to take a stroll through it and escape the busy bustling Budapest for a while. The city park is also often hosting events like for example the wine festival which was happening when we were visiting Budapest. So make sure to inform yourself beforehand and not miss out on any interesting events!